End Jim Crow Education in East Ramapo Schools

Act Now

The East Ramapo School District in the Hudson Valley is a shocking example of 21st Century Jim Crow in New York.

Not too long ago, the district's thriving and diverse public schools were the envy of other districts across the state. But for the past decade, the white-majority school board has favored private education while hollowing out the public schools – and abandoning Black and Latinx youth. Even though the district is subject to state oversight, political leaders have failed to restore quality education to the public schools.

State leaders must take action to end Jim Crow education in our state.

TAKE ACTION: Tell state officials to fight systemic racism and stand up for East Ramapo's public school students.

Message Recipients:
Betty A. Rosa, Commissioner of Education
Board of Regents
Governor Kathy Hochul
Your representatives

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The East Ramapo School District in the Hudson Valley is a shocking example of 21st Century Jim Crow in New York.

Not too long ago, the district's thriving and diverse public schools were the envy of other districts across the state. But for the past decade, the white-majority school board has systematically favored private education and hollowed out the public schools – and willfully abandoned Black and Latinx youth.

In June 2021, the legislature and the governor gave NYSED-appointed monitors new powers over the school board to ensure all the district’s students are served. This was a crucial step, but as a new report by the NYCLU documents, state leaders must do more to stop Jim Crow education in East Ramapo.

Specifically, I call on you to:

1. Give the commissioner of education additional authority over school districts like East Ramapo, where the private school population significantly outnumbers that of public schools. Specifically, the commissioner should be able to step in if the majority population votes down school budgets, to ensure the district has adequate operating funds and education is not interrupted. Right now, only East Ramapo meets this demographic threshold, but other districts in the state are headed that direction.

2. Cap the hourly rate a school district can spend on outside counsel. Public dollars that could support teaching and learning should not flow into the accounts of outrageously expensive law firms.

3. Extend the right to vote in school board elections to all parents, regardless of citizenship status. A large proportion of non-white adults in the district—the majority of whom send their children to public schools-- are not citizens and are not permitted to vote. They have no say in the financial health or governance of their children’s schools, even though they work and pay taxes in the community. Noncitizen voting in school board elections has been permitted before, and it is the right thing to do.

Amidst a national awakening over systemic racism, New York state cannot allow 21st Century Jim Crow to continue to fester in East Ramapo.

Sincerely,

[First Name] [Last Name]

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